There’s a new Walters exec director in town, Julia Marciari-Alexander — or at least she’s starting very soon, after relocating her husband and young twins all the way from San Diego, where where she currently serves as the Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs at the San Diego Museum of Art. Marciari-Alexander will take up the Walters post on April 1st. Museum insiders say Marciari-Alexander completely loves the East Coast and is psyched to set up residence in Baltimore. I asked her firsthand about her decision to accept the high-profile position, and what she makes of our fair city so far.
What’s the number one reason you accepted a position at the Walters?
The Walters is one of the great museums in the country in a city that is on the move. The Collection, the Staff, the Board, the Community — there was never any question that I would not accept if I were offered the opportunity.
What’s your gut reaction to the idea that you’re moving to Baltimore? What is your early impression of our town?
Gut reaction is: what a great place to live and in which to bring up our twins, Jack and Beatrice. My husband and I commuted between New Haven and Baltimore from 1999 to 2002, when he was an assistant professor at Loyola University (then College), and we had thought about making Baltimore our home then. Jobs took us to New Haven then, but now we are back and couldn’t be more excited.
Before SDMA, Marciari-Alexander served as Associate Director for Exhibitions and Publications the Yale Center for British Art.
“Julia Marciari-Alexander not only has excellent academic and institutional credentials, but also a strong history of creative community outreach. She is highly regarded for her collaborative and strategic approach to leadership, and is known for her high energy and her ability to listen and engage,” said Ellen Bernard, Walters trustee and chair of the search committee. “We were looking for a dynamic leader to enhance our mission of bringing art and people together in Baltimore and beyond through education, exhibitions and innovative uses of technology, and we’ve found that and more in Julia. We can’t wait to welcome her and her family to Baltimore.”
Marciari-Alexander, of course, replaces Gary Vikan, who is stepping down after more than 27 years at the Walters, including 18 years as exec director.
“Among the many transformative strategic initiatives implemented during [Vikan’s] tenure was the elimination of the Walters’ general admission fee,” notes a press release. “The Walters was among the first U.S. museums to do so, resulting in sustained increases in attendance and greater diversity in its audience.”
Look for our Big Fish interview with Julia Marciari-Alexander coming next month!
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